Office of Local Sustainability

Vietnam Forests and Deltas Program
Vietnam Forests and Deltas Program
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USAID’s Office of Local Sustainability (E3/LS) leads the Agency’s work on locally-led development. By working through innovative and flexible programs that strengthen the capacity of USAID Missions to better serve and partner with local communities, USAID is able to help reduce dependence on foreign aid.

USAID strongly believes that partnering directly with local leaders, networks and institutions better enables and empowers communities to respond to complex development challenges with smarter, more resilient, and home-grown solutions.

E3/LS aligns its work with that of the entire Agency - and the broader development community - to inform flexible programming and operations that prioritize locally-led development. E3/LS’ client-centered approach equips Missions with the knowledge, skills, tools, and resources to: leverage local capacities and resources; engage with local systems in ways that build upon and strengthen local leadership, capacity, and self-reliance; and be inclusive of marginalized populations.

Today, more and more USAID Missions and Operating Units are incorporating locally-led development principles throughout the Agency’s program cycle, policies, and operations.


E3/LS’ portfolio includes the flagship Local Works program; Cooperative Development Program agreements in 14 countries; the Peace Corps Small Project Assistance (SPA) program, supporting more than 50 USAID-Peace Corps cooperating countries; four co-created research initiatives awarded through a Broad Agency Announcement process; and the Communications, Evidence and Learning (CEL) project.


USAID’s Local Works is a unique program designed to advance locally-owned development and enhance the Agency’s ability to empower local actors to take the lead in identifying and addressing development challenges. Current Local Works Missions include: Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Macedonia, Malawi, Morocco, Philippines, Serbia, Uganda, Vietnam, and West Africa.


USAID’s Cooperative Development Program uses U.S. cooperatives and cooperative development expertise to advance locally-owned and led development objectives. Through CDP, cooperative development organization partners strengthen the capacity of local cooperatives and improve enabling environments to help cooperative businesses meet the evolving needs of their members. Currently, CDP is working in agriculture, finance, health, energy, and information technology in the following countries: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mongolia, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, and Uganda.


The Small Project Assistance Program is a 35-year-old collaboration between USAID and Peace Corps to support local community development. SPA is driven by the two agencies’ common commitment to reaching motivated communities—especially those beyond the reach of traditional development organizations—with locally-driven, effective, sustainable interventions led by trained Peace Corps Volunteers living and working in hard-to-reach communities. SPA empowers local leaders to lead and own development solutions and processes in the present and into the future. The Peace Corps and USAID support community-level development projects in several sectors, including: health,education, agriculture, gender equality, and small enterprise development.


In 2015, USAID’s Office of Local Sustainability notified the public of the opportunity to collaborate with USAID to find better ways of supporting locally-led development. Ideas included ways to strengthen networks of local actors, increase access to domestic resources, map local networks, understand constituent perspectives, monitor complex social changes, measure and track shifts in social capital, and facilitate multi-stakeholder processes.


CEL is a five-year project launched in 2018 through which E3/LS will strengthen the practice of locally-led development by promoting a culture of learning, experimenting, and sharing for the benefit of the Agency and the development community as a whole. CEL will broaden and deepen the evidence base for effective locally-led development through evaluations, research, assessments, pilots, communications, knowledge management, and dissemination of learning and trainings within USAID and to external parties, including other development organizations.

For more information, please contact E3/LS at 

Last updated: September 12, 2018

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